Literature review

Literature review on international best court support models for victim survivors of sexual violence

Sexual assault Courts Mental health New Zealand

This literature review was completed to provide the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) with an overview of international psychosocial court support service models for victims-survivors of sexual violence going through the criminal justice system (CJS).

The New Zealand Law Commission’s 2015 report - The Justice Response to Victims of Sexual Violence - identified several international court support models that are considered to represent best practice. This review provides an overview of these models and others. It explores the key commonalities of what is considered ‘best practice’, challenges for implementation and recommendations for the Aotearoa New Zealand context. Accessible academic and grey literature was reviewed and sorted by relevance, and the findings synthesised and summarised from the identified evidence.

Key Findings:

  1. Victim-survivor-centred, integrated programmes, such as one-stop-shops and wrap-around service models, are perceived as best practice in responding to victims-survivors of sexual violence.
  2. Strong relationships, collaboration and communication between medical and legal services, police, counsellors, advocates and other support services can help better support victims-survivors throughout the justice process and ensure victims-survivors get access to the services and support they need.
  3. It is more challenging to implement a multi-agency, wrap-around support programme because they are resource-intensive and more expensive to run than stand-alone services. Furthermore, insufficient resources, including staff and services, can create a rural-urban divide.
  4. Victims-survivors feel more confident to participate in and cope with the challenging nature of the CJS when they have ongoing access to a qualified and/or specially trained sexual violence advisor/advocate, who can provide personalised and holistic support and advice throughout.
  5. It is important that service providers receive specialist training to respond effectively to the diverse and complex needs of victim-survivors of sexual violence. This includes the needs of indigenous people, ethnic communities (migrants and refugees), people with disabilities, people with mental health issues, and the LGBTQ community.


Publication Details
Access Rights Type: